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AP pix of state funeral for General Giap, casket driven through streets of Hanoi

AP Archive News-Politics 2015-07-31 - 10:49:19

"Tens of thousands of people lined the streets of Hanoi on Sunday to bid farewell to General Vo Nguyen Giap, a war hero who led Vietnam to victory over France and then the US. Long live General Vo Nguyen Giap, people chanted, many in tears, as his flag-draped coffin passed by on a truck-drawn artillery carriage. The procession travelled along a 40-kilometre (25-mile) route from the national funeral house in central Hanoi to the airport. Crowds of young and old lined the route, in places 10 deep. Giap, who died on October 4 at age 102, was revered in Vietnam only second to his mentor, former President Ho Chi Minh. Alongside the public outpouring of emotion, the government orchestrated an elaborate send-off for the general, seeking to use the moment to foster national unity at a time of discontent and economic malaise. After the war, Giap was sidelined by the Communist Party, and towards the end of his life emerged as something of a critic, shielded from consequence because of his popularity. State-controlled media has been awash in eulogy for him since his death, but neglected to mention this chapter in his life. Giaps body was to be flown for burial in his home province of Quang Binh in central Vietnam later on Sunday. Giap is best remembered for leading Vietnamese forces to victory over the French at Dien Bien Phu in 1954. His Chinese advisers told him to strike elite French forces fast and hard, but Giap changed plans at the last minute and ordered his jungle troops, clad in sandals made of old car tires, to besiege the French army. The French were defeated after 56 days, and the unlikely victory led not only to Vietnams independence, but hastened the collapse of colonialism across Indochina and beyond. Throughout most of the war that followed against the United States, Giap was defence minister and armed forces commander, but he was slowly pushed aside after Ho Chi Minhs death in 1969. The glory for victory in 1975 didnt go to Giap. Pham Cong Truong, a 65-year-old from Binh Phuc province, said he was deeply moved and cried when General Giaps coffin passed in front of him. He was a talented general who brought a lot to the country and to the people, and its thanks to him that Vietnam is as it is today, he said. Im deeply grateful for what he did and Ill never forget him and will follow his example. Dinh Thi Diep, a 70-year-old from Quang Ninh province, said that all the people of Vietnam will never forget Uncle Ho and General Giap. Giap will be buried at his home province in accordance with his wishes and those of his family instead of the Mai Dich cemetery in Hanoi where most Vietnamese high-ranking officials are traditionally buried. You can license this story through AP Archive: Find out more about AP Archive:"

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